ERP Insights

Maintaining Sanity When Implementing a New ERP System

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If your current ERP system is inadequate and replacement is under consideration, it's illogical to invest significant amounts of money, time, and resources into replacing it with the same thing.

In this article we cover

Also read our ERP implementation guide for our helpful phased approach to implementing ERP systems.

What to Avoid When Investing in a New ERP System

Albert Einstein may or may not have said The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” But whoever did make that observation, it also applies to investing in a new ERP system.

If the current system is not serving your company’s needs and replacement is a serious consideration, it does not make sense to spend untold amounts of money, time, and resources to replace it with the exact same thing. But many companies have done just that – bought a new system, and then proceeded to tailor and/or modify the system to look, feel and operate just like the prior system.

Why would companies do that? The reasons/excuses usually fall into one of these categories:

  • This is what the users are used to and they won’t be willing or able to change the way they do things.
  • This is the way we’ve been running the company for years and we don’t want to change that.
  • Best practices are what everyone else is doing (albeit successfully) and we’re not the same as everyone else – we’re better. (If everything is going so swimmingly then why are you changing systems?)

Unless the replacement project was triggered by an old system going up in smoke (literally or figuratively), and even if that’s the case, a company will want to see some operational performance improvements resulting from this large investment – lower costs, higher productivity, quality improvements leading to more sales, better customer service (leading to more sales or higher margins), etc. 

Even if this is a simple, direct replacement for a system that has failed, some of the cost lies in the new features and functions that have been developed and incorporated into the new software since the current system was installed however many years ago. Why choose to not take advantage of everything the new purchase has to offer?

Harnessing Best Practices in a New ERP System

Tailoring or modifying the new system to be just like the old one, won’t deliver improvements in operational performance or different results. It would be difficult to see much ROI in that kind of project.

Don’t be so quick to dismiss best practices” as too pedestrian to warrant consideration. They are called best practices because they work. And if your competitors are using them to effectively compete against your business, adopting those practices might just bring business back into parity, which is a great starting point for further improvements that will catapult business success ahead.

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The Importance of Not Modifying New ERP Software Codes

It’s perfectly okay to tailor screen layouts, reports, procedural flow, and the like to fit the way things are currently working, but be careful not to change the functions. Be aware of what the function, as built, is supposed to do and how it relates to the overall system, and how it will affect business before making any of these cosmetic changes. As you learn more about the new system, you might decide that the new reports and flows are actually better than the old ones.

So, do not modify the packaged software code. If the new system can’t be used as-is or by taking advantage of the tailoring facilities provided, find another software package that better fits your needs.

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